When Earth Day falls on Good Shepherd Sunday

Today's readings come with pretty powerful messages about saving the world

I was struck this Earth Day morning by the readings at Mass—this Good Shepherd Sunday—especially the exhortation in the Psalms:

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

The readings reminded me of my Good Friday post, where I asked these questions: when we Catholics engage environmental issues, or any social issues, what expectations do we bring? What strategies do we employ?

I noted that we do need a revolution, just not the political variety. What we need is God’s revolution.

Today on Good Shepherd Sunday—another day called “Good”—I'm struck by the confluence of this annual observance with another, Earth Day, and what it has to say about our growing overreliance on government. Of course, I understand the state's importance. I’m a civil servant, after all. What concerns me is the unspoken expectation by some, especially those on the left, that new laws and regulations will solve all our ills, as if it were possible to legislate the love of neighbor.

Many of our Earth Day events show us just the opposite. They’re demonstrating that true change comes when a heart is open to what is outside of it—especially God, and then of course creation and our neighbors who share it with us. Then can come hard work, as so many cleanups and tree-planting projects are proving.

This confluence of openness, which brings transformation and action, is ... the Christian equation that grace elevates nature.

This confluence of openness, which brings transformation and action, is, after all, the Christian equation that grace elevates nature.

As I noted on Good Friday, our primary job as activists—eco, social, political, and otherwise—is to be revolutionaries of grace. More than ever, the world needs the Church and her priests (that is, her shepherds) to mediate that grace and bring it to the faithful, so that we can then bring God’s unstoppable light to the places that need it.

And so I will continue the drumbeat: what Catholics bring to the arena of environmental protection is not more of the same. What we bring is Christ, who alone can shepherd us away from sin, from death into life—into the glorious new creation.

After all, as Saint Peter made clear to the authorities of his day in today's first reading,

“There is no salvation through anyone else [but Christ], nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved."

About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.